In 1962, Tomizo and Mitsue Ikei, whose parents immigrated from Okinawa, started The Saimin House. Their shop was located where the present First Hawaiian Bank Building now stands on North King Street near Aala Park.
By day, the shop was a service station, and by night, it was converted to a saimin stand. The diverse area consisted of a mochi factory, soda fountain, pawn shop and several bars. With pitched tents and a gas burner, saimin was sold at 25 cents a bowl and BBQ beef at 10 cents a stick. Those were the days.
In 1963, The Saimin House moved to the location next to Tamashiro Market. After Tomizo and Mitsue Ikei's retirement, third generation family members continued the business and moved again to its present location. Today, now known as The Old Saimin House, is operated by fourth generation family members of Tomizo and Mitsue Ikei with the same menu as well as additional simple selections.
The Old Saimin House specializes in old-fashioned saimin. Simple and delectable comfort food, this is localized soup for the soul, warming the hearts and stomachs of islanders for years. It's a great meal for lunch or dinner, and a great snack after a football game or movies. A great accompaniment to the broth-based noodles is the BBQ beef sticks, best eaten hot off the grill. The menu also extends to wun tun min, udon, fried saimin, fried udon and fried Okinawan soba along with a combination plate with prices that are reasonably priced.